Forbes Travel and Lonely Planet Offer New Best Picks to Visit

OK, I’ll go. Sign me up. Anyone with me on the holiday gift list could consider packing me off to a wide variety of neat locales.

They’re not exactly the polar opposites (neither does much with north and south poles, as it happens) but it’s fair to say that Lonely Planet and Forbes Travel Guide (once Mobil Travel Guide) are pleased to speak to different audiences.

Generally I can’t afford Forbes and Lonely Planet, even as it has softened its founding back-packer mentality — and attitude — may not always be my cup of coffee. But both and each are great treasures of the travel game.

And each has just come out with some new top destinations worthy of our attention — and daydreaming.

Lonely Planet says we should go to Iceland. Good. The volcano folk of Iceland heads the travel service’s annual list of great destinations. The 2012 tally is topped by “I” contries — Iceland, Italy and India — but diverges across the alphabet thereafter to the Philippines, Colombia, Turkey, the UK, Slovenia, the United States and Mexico.

Higher-end Forbes has just awarded top star ratings , noting:

The Grand Del Mar hotel in San Diego joins its spa and restaurant counterparts, The Spa at The Grand Del Mar and Addison, which were awarded their Five-Star ratings in 2011 and 2009, respectively.

–Wisconsin now has a Five-Star hotel, The American Club, and a Five-Star spa, Kohler Waters Spa, both in Kohler.

–Four new Five-Star restaurants make the list: L2O in Chicago; Menton in Boston; Twist by Pierre Gagnaire in Las Vegas; and Herons in Cary, N.C.

These additions bring the total number of Five-Star hotels to 57, including five in Hong Kong, two in Macau and one in Singapore. There are also now 25 Five-Star restaurants, all in the U.S., and 30 Five-Star spas around the world. The 2012 Forbes Travel Guide honor roll includes 539 establishments in the U.S., Canada, Beijing, Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore.

(You can check the entire list of the locales so honored over time. Only the Washington Inn in Connecticut makes the list here.)

By way of its web,, Forbes also gives its elegant attaboys to destinations, restaurants and other travel niceties. Lots to think about.

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